GOLDENS BRIDGE, N.Y. - The lingering pandemic is cancelling events that would typically take place in October for National Fire Prevention Week. But that isn’t stopping the Goldens Bridge Fire Department from driving home the important message of fire prevention and safety to school children and their families, according to Fire Chief Al Melillo.
Goldens Bridge Firefighters would normally be planning their annual visit to Increase Miller Elementary School for a day of interactive demonstrations and presentations about fire safety during National Fire Prevention Week, which is October 4-10 this year. One of the highlights of the visit to Increase Miller is Firefighters presenting each student with a backpack filled with fun and educational items and materials.
“Our Firefighters look forward to fire safety day at IMES just as much as the students, but we were forced to cancel this year’s visit because of COVID-19-related restrictions,” Melillo said. “But that doesn’t stop our efforts to engage school students and their families in the important dialogue of fire safety and prevention. It just means that we have to deliver this message in other ways.”
In compliance with COVID-19 safety practices and guidelines, the Goldens Bridge Fire Department has rolled out a series of virtual events and a curbside experience that Melillo said are designed to encourage parents and children to discuss good fire safety practices and habits, and to ensure that families have an escape plan and a checklist of what to do if a fire breaks out in their home.
This year’s fire safety and prevention outreach will look very different than in years past:
Free Backpack Curbside Pickup at the Firehouse
Parents drive curbside to the Golden’s Bridge Firehouse (Route 138), where Firefighters will be on hand for two days: Saturday, Oct. 10, and Sunday, Oct. 11, from noon to 3 p.m., distributing to IMES students (and elementary school-age children who live in the fire district) backpacks filled with a ruler, pencil, eraser, coloring book, fire helmet, key chain, and other item, some engraved with the words “Golden’s Bridge Fire Department” to serve as a year-round reminder of fire safety and prevention. No one leaves their vehicles, and firefighters and all occupants of vehicles must wear face coverings as per state regulations. No reservations required, just drive curbside to the firehouse with your children on one of the designated days during the prescribed time.
Kids in the Kitchen Contest
As part of its series of virtual events, and since this year’s theme of National Fire Prevention Week is “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen,” the Goldens Bridge Fire Department is sponsoring “Kids in the Kitchen,” a contest in which IMES students (and elementary school-age children who live in the fire district) are being asked to 1. name their favorite food, 2. share a recipe for that food, and 3. identify three ways that they and their family practice cooking safety in the kitchen. Prizes will be awarded to the winning entries of all grade levels.
The Great (Fire) Escape”Contest
IMES students (and elementary school-age children who live in the fire district) are being asked to depict a fire escape safety plan for their home either through art, writing, or mapping, or a combination of any of the three. Prizes will be awarded to the winning entries of all grade levels.
Fire Tips Challenge
IMES students (and elementary school-age children who live in the fire district) are being asked to submit five fire prevention or safety tips, or a combination of both. Prizes will be awarded to the winning entries of all grade levels.
All submissions for these virtual events should be sent by the Oct. 19 deadline to fire district public relations representative Steve Mangione via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information or questions, text or call him at 914-403-4072.
In addition to prizes, winning entries (and some of the other entries) will be posted on GBFD social media, and featured in press releases and the fire district newsletter.
Students are encouraged to participate in all three virtual events, said Melillo.
“Make them family activities. Work on them with your parents and other family members. Be creative and imaginative – and talk about fire safety and prevention when you’re doing them,” he said. “We are hopeful of achieving full participation by IMES students and other elementary school-age children in the Goldens Bridge Fire District. When we are at the school, students are always eager to share their knowledge about fire safety and proud of the escape plans their families have devised.”
“We believe that these virtual efforts and maintaining the tradition of distributing the backpacks will provide students with the opportunity to share their knowledge and maintain this important dialogue on fire safety and prevention,” he added.